John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said: “The government deserves huge praise for taking this bold decision to look more closely at the use of vaping when it comes to smoking cessation and for taking an evidence-based, science-led approach rather than the nonsensical anti-vaping, anti-harm reduction stance of some countries.
“This announcement by the Department for Health is just the latest in a long line of breakthroughs for those of us who for years have advocated vaping as the best and most effective method for people looking to quit smoking.
“For instance, this year the NHS has been quietly trialing giving e-cigarettes to smokers attending A&E departments in some UK hospitals, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has just concluded a consultation on new draft guidance for healthcare workers that places vaping on a par with other nicotine replacement therapies, so there is clearly growing support within clinical settings for vaping’s effectiveness to help people to quit smoking safely and for good.
“Recently the Royal College of Physicians released a major report calling for the UK government to promote electronic cigarettes via a mass media campaign.
“What’s more, Public Health England has declared that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking and Cancer Research UK has also backed e-cigarettes as one of the best methods to get smokers to quit combustible tobacco.
“So, with this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the Department for Health has made this announcement today as the evidence and arguments for using vaping as a way of helping smokers to quit is nothing short of overwhelming.
“There is a good case too for NHS and other healthcare professionals to take a lead in helping their patients to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, and we have repeatedly called on the Government to make access to vaping much more accessible through smoking cessation services.
“However, it is not simply a case of giving vaping products to smokers and sending them off, which is why we have just launched a campaign to engage with every NHS trust in the UK to offer help and guidance on how vaping can be used in the best way possible to help people in their quit journeys.”
IBVTA board members Matthew Moden of Liberty Flights and Totally Wicked’s Liam Humberstone spoke to the Lancashire Telegraph.
Matthew Moden told them: “This will be one more step towards the validation of our products as a means to stop people smoking combustible tobacco. It is good news especially for the vaping firms in East Lancashire.
“We used to be pariahs, but this is a sign of the growing recognition of e-cigarettes value in stopping people from smoking combustible tobacco. The question is whether other pharmaceutical and tobacco firms will try and move into the market for prescription e-cigarettes.”
Liam Humberstone said: “It is positive news that the government is again thinking of recognising the health benefits of e-cigarettes in helping people to stop smoking. But the path to putting them on prescription is longer and more complex than people think. The issue is whether independent vaping firms would be able finance that work.”
VPZ’s Director Doug Mutter believes that vaping products being prescribed on the NHS in England could provide a huge leap forward in the country’s ambitions to be smoke free by 2030.
He commented: “As the UK’s leading vaping specialist, we are spearheading the fight against the nation’s number one killer – smoking. We fully welcome the news that the NHS in England is exploring opportunities to prescribe vaping products to help people quit smoking.
“The Pandemic has triggered an increase in smoking rates and the public health problem has been compounded by funding cuts for NHS stop smoking services and local support groups.
“However, this progressive and innovative approach being considered by the NHS in England has the potential to reverse this damage and bring new momentum to our ambitions of becoming a smoke free nation by 2030.
Doug added: “It’s not simply about prescribing a vape and smokers will be able to go away and stop smoking. People need education, expert knowledge, support, advice and a personalised service that meets their individual needs.
“Our vape clinic service responds to this demand and is filling a huge void left by stop smoking services, helping increasing numbers of smokers to stay on their quit journey and stop smoking for good.”